Braintree Selectboard Meeting
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
“In accordance with the recent amendments to Vermont’s open meeting law, and in light of the ongoing public health crisis, this meeting was held via conference call. You can access the meeting at the scheduled time by calling 802-210-4472.”
Present via Remote Conference Calling:
Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member
Adam Wiggett, Local Business Owner Paul Kendall – Citizen
Charles Farrington – Highway crew member
Present at Town Office:
Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer
Loren Bent, Selectboard Member Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman
Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member Jeff Holmes, Sterling Mountain Solar
Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant Will Veve, Sterling Mountain Solar
Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order at 6pm. A roll call was done to confirm what Selectboard members and citizens were in attendance via teleconferencing.
The Board Reviewed the agenda and Ms. O’Toole made a correction to the Highway Report stating that the year of the International Truck for sale is 2009 and not 2013. Ms. Brassard added under New Business the Sullivan & Powers & Co., P.C. Scope of Services. Ms. O’Toole added the Solar Array plans discussion to the Executive Session.
On motion of Mr. McMeekin, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on May 5, 2020 with the correction of the for sale International Truck year from 2013 to 2009.
- Citizen’s comments limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum
- Highway Report
- To prevent extra work or a hole in the ground Mr. Masterson wants to keep the current injured Maple Tree up until a new tree has actually been purchased. Ms. Brassard proposed that we replace the Maple with 2 Crab Apple Trees for around a total cost of $230. The Selectboard agreed with the suggestion to not remove the current tree until new trees have arrived and to the proposal to purchase 2 Crab Apple Trees.
- Swapping the Selling of the 2009 International Truck to selling the 2001 International, aka the Chloride Truck. Mr. Masterson informed the Board that no one has shown real interest in the 2009 International; only offering low bids. The current 2001 Chloride Truck needs serious work to the frame and could easily be replaced by the 2009 International Truck and the Town could then scrap the 2001 International and receive an estimated $1,000.00. A brief discussion ensued about the advantages and disadvantages of creating a cage for the Chloride Tank so it could be transferred to different trucks and then selling both the 2001 and 2009 International. The Board decided that the best solution would be to keep the 2009 International and make it the Chloride Truck and sell the 2001 International Truck as scrap for the best price that can be received.
- Old business
- COVID-19 Follow-up
- Office Closure To Public – The Town Office will continue to be closed to the Public until at least July 7th, unless an appointment by phone or e-mail is made with the Town Clerk or Administrative Assistant to enter the building. There is a drop-off box in the front of the building to leave any correspondence that does not need an immediate response.
- Restructuring Office For Safety – Mr. McMeekin informed the Board that Portland Glass had surveyed the space and then provided an estimate of $1,270.00 for the tempered 1/4” clear glass with factory polished edges that they will mount in the provided farme. Mr. McMeekin is experiencing difficulties finding a contractor/carpenter that is available to complete the required safety upgrades to the office and requested suggestions for local contractors/carpenters from the other Board members. Mr. McMeekin will start contacting the suggested contractors/carpenters on Wednesday.
- Remote Working – No employee is working remotely at this time.
- RAMAN update from Tim Caulfield – As Mr. Caulfield was not able to join the Selectboard Meeting tonight he provided the Board with a brief written summary. The Board members had no questions on the summary. Ms. O’Toole informed the Board that Governor Scott had extended the State of Emergency with an Executive Order with revisions until July 15, 2020.
- Trashy Neighbors Research Follow-up- Mr. Burson has carried out more research on Trash Ordinances in Vermont and found a Town of Chester Ordinance Model that he particularly likes. He will continue to do research and prepare a Trash Ordinance for the Selectboard to review at the July 7, 2020 meeting.
- Opportunities for solar installations on town property
- Potential Riford Brook Road Solar Array
Sterling Mountain Solar – Jeff Holmes and his partner, Will Veve, handed out a written plan for the redeveloping of the parcel for a Solar Array. The Plan detailed the site design of the solar arrays, the composition of the solar panels and the ability to recycle the panels. Assistance with State and Federal Regulations that need to be followed, especially Section 248 and Act 250, and costs incurred in the closure of a gravel pit and opening of a solar array will be provided to the Town of Braintree by Sterling Mountain. The Plan also included both purchasing and rental agreements of the site and what further Road Maintenance etc. Sterling Mountain would expect from the Town. Mr.’s Holmes and Veve reiterated that Sterling Mountain would need control of the land before any permitting process could begin. The Solar Mountain presentation also detailed the benefits to the town regarding supplying electricity to the Green Mountain Power Grid, especially Net Metering Credits. These projects are built to go for 20 or 25 years, which is the timeline for material warranties, with Net Metering Credits being extended for 35 or 40 years and the solar panels are solid and do not contain any liquids inside them and are constructed using recycled materials and can be recycled at the end of their use. The Net Metering Credits could be extended to qualified Town facilities such as the Elementary School, Town Hall, etc. At the end of the Solar Array’s useful life, by State Regulation, a decommissioning agreement is required that states the removal of the panels and returning the land to its former status of open land will be completed.
- Adam Wiggett – Adam Wiggett, Inc. – Mr. Wiggett’s presentation was much shorter as all the pertinent information regarding permitting, timelines, Net Metering Credits, etc. were covered in the Sterling Mountain Solar’s presentation. Mr. Wiggett did inform the Board that as his business is local and everything he would provide, including the labor, would be provided locally and help the Tri-Town economy.
Ms. O’Toole, due to her position as an attorney at the Agency of Natural Resources will participate in discussions but recuse herself from the making of a final decision on the Solar Array proposals.
- New business
- Potential WiFi hotspot installation – Ms. O’Toole spoke with the Public Service Department employee who had reached out to the Town regarding the State assisting the Town to do a very quick install of a WiFi Hotspots. The cost to the Town would be just the price of the equipment and then the license after 1 year. The Town does currently provide free WiFi outside the Town Office with password instructions posted on the front door. Ms. Brassard suggested that having the ability to utilize a WiFi Hotspot at the Town Hall or School may be a good idea for future need.
- Review summer projects and assigned selectboard responsibilities – Ms. O’Toole reviewed who is the lead on current projects. The Solar Array Project main point of contact is going to be Loren Bent to coordinate with the Board. Mr. Burson will coordinate the future of the Highway Department as Mr. Masterson transitions into retirement and the need for a new Highway Foreman and Road Commissioner. Mr. McMeekin will lead, and coordinate with Mr. Haupt, on the office restructuring for safety purposes..
- Sullivan, Powers & Co., P.C. – Scope of Work. The Board reviewed the Scope of Work for the Annual Audit that the Town hires out. The price included in the Scope of Work is the same cost as last year’s audit and does fall within the amount budgeted for said audit. The only difference in the Scope of Work is the audit will be done remotely due to COVID-19 and will require more copying and scanning by the office staff. The audit occurs at the end of October.
On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously voted to sign the Scope of Work for this year’s audit to be conducted by Sullivan, Powers & Co., P.C.
On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 7:14 P.M. for a discussion of both personnel and legal matters.
- Executive Session –The Board returned from Executive Session at 8 PM with no decision being made on either the personnel or legal matters.
On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously voted, with Mr. Bent abstaining, to approve and apply the Merit and Cost of Living increases for the Administrative Assistant and Highway Crew that were contemplated during the budgeting process last December.
- Payment orders – Messrs Bent and McMeekin reviewed the Payment Orders.
On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the payment orders.
On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Haupt the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 8:14 p.m.